Depending on the size and complexity of the estate, the executor’s job can be accomplished quickly and easily or it can take longer and be more complicated.
To learn about the probate process, see our article Understanding Probate.
Reasons to choose an executor
If you die without a proper will or don't name someone to be the executor of your estate in your will, the court will determine who should be your "personal representative." This will likely be your spouse, your adult children, or your closest relative. By naming an executor in your will, you can control who will be responsible for managing your estate and carrying out the wishes in your will when you die.
In order to be as thorough as possible, you’ll want to name not only an executor, but also a successor executor, also known as a successor representative. This person will become the executor in the event that the primary executor should be unable to serve as executor for any reason. When choosing a successor executor, follow the same guidelines as when choosing a primary executor.
To learn about the duties and responsibilities of an executor, see our article Duties of an Executor.
For advice on how to choose an executor, see our article How to Choose an Executor.